TRENTON – Responding to a June 19 directive from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, 21 municipalities have provided re-certifications confirming that the yellow light timing at 63 intersections statewide where red light cameras are authorized for operation is in accordance with the formula specified in the legislation.
Last month the Department directed 21 of the 25 municipalities participating in the red light camera pilot program to suspend issuing summonses to motorists on the basis of video evidence provided by cameras placed at intersections. The suspension order affected 63 of the 85 authorized red light camera intersections statewide.
NJDOT ordered the suspension at the affected intersections because it had come to the attention of the department that the pilot program legislation specified a formula to determine the proper duration of the yellow light in a traffic signal that differs from the legally required, nationally accepted formula that NJDOT, counties and municipalities use when installing traffic signals.
NJDOT notified the 21 affected municipalities of the variance in the formulas and directed each to perform an analysis that conforms to the formula in the legislation. The affected cameras were not required to be turned off, but rather continued to record traffic activity.
Each affected municipality has conducted the requested traffic analysis and provided their re-certifications to NJDOT via a professionally licensed municipal engineer. In each case the results have confirmed that the duration of a yellow light at the authorized intersection meets the minimum duration as required by the legislation.
The municipalities that were affected by the suspension have been informed that they are now permitted to continue issuing violation summonses, as well as issue violation summonses for violations that occurred during the suspension period.
If the analysis had shown that a signal did not display a yellow light long enough to meet the formula in the legislation, that intersection would have been removed from the pilot program.
The red light camera pilot program, authorized by an act of the Legislature in 2008 and implemented beginning in 2009, aims to determine whether red light cameras promote safety by reducing the frequency and severity of crashes at intersections that have a history of motorists running red lights. NJDOT administers the pilot program but has no direct role in the issuance of violations.
“We’re pleased that the New Jersey Department of Transportation has confirmed what we’ve known all along,” said American Traffic Solutions Inc. through a statement. “All of the approaches monitored by ATS’ red-light safety cameras are now, and have always been in compliance with both state and federal yellow light timing standards. Overall, New Jersey’s red-light safety camera programs have been an overwhelming success. Violations, side impact collisions, injuries and fatalities as a result of red-light running continue to fall. The decision to recertify the cameras will ensure that these important safety programs will continue. It’s our hope that the Commissioner will now take steps to give approval to the dozens of cities and towns currently seeking authority to launch red-light safety camera programs of their own.”
State Sen. Michael Doherty, a Republican who sponsored legislation to ban the use of red light cameras in New Jersey, said ”The certification of the 63 red light cameras in question does nothing to address the propriety of the program as a whole.
“More than 4,000 people have signed my online petition supporting our effort to ban red light cameras in New Jersey. I urge people to join our effort by signing the petition athttp://senatenj.com/cameras.”